What Is The Palomino Trout? And How To Catch One

Did you know that fishing has its very own hall of fame?

If not, you won’t know that the palomino trout makes the list.

What Is The Palomino Trout And How To Catch One

Also commonly known as golden trout, golden rainbow, banana trout, palomino rainbow trout, or lightning trout. The palomino trout is a stunning fish commonly found in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Known for its distinctive golden color, the palomino trout is easily one of the most unique fish in North America.

This makes the species a highly sought-after trophy catch with most anglers and fishermen. The fact you’ve landed here would suggest you share those feelings. If you’re planning on catching a palomino trout, there are a number of important things you need to know first.

These include understanding what exactly the palomino trout is, where it can be found, and what you need to take into account when trying to catch it. 

Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the palomino trout and how to catch one. 

Let’s get started, shall we!

What Is The Palomino Trout?

Long before the palomino trout came about, this species of fish was part of the rainbow trout family. Before research was carried out, its scientific name was Salmo Mykiss Agua-Bonita. 

With origins tracing back to West Virginia, it was only in 1995 that workers at a fish hatchery noticed this vastly different fish. In fact, there’s no other fish in West Virginia that looks like the palomino trout. 

The hatchery-raised rainbow trout that had a regular rainbow trout pigmentation. When they saw this golden-colored trout they knew something was different. 

From there, the golden trout classification was selectively bred and created. Its scientific name was changed to Oncorhynchus Mykiss Aguabonita.

However, it still belonged to the rainbow trout species. It was only in 2014 that the palomino trout was classified as its own species. This means that it no longer belongs to the rainbow trout family.  

Aside from its golden appearance and more common trout-like characteristics, the palomino trout grows between 12 to 30 inches long and weighs anywhere from 2 to 10 lbs.

Palomino Trout Characteristics

As far as the palomino trout’s characteristics go, this species of fish has a very similar physical appearance to other species of trout.

Despite being much brighter in color, the fish is almost indistinguishable from that of a regular rainbow trout. However, their golden color sets the two apart. 

Just like the brown and rainbow trout, golden trout develop large hooked jaws. As they mature, they also develop a similar adipose fin. This fin is found between the caudal fin, dorsal fin, and tail.

Around their dorsal din, anal fins, and lateral fin, the palomino trout has white-colored edges.

They also have green coloring along their backs. This species is also known to have horizontally-aligned ovals, otherwise known as parr marks. As if the palomino trout wasn’t colorful enough, the species even has a pink belly and a purple/reddish lateral line.

Where Can You Find Palomino Trout?

Thanks to the hard work of various fish hatcheries, the palomino trout can be found in abundance throughout West Virginia and other eastern U.S states. 

If you’re looking for the biggest population of golden trout, you should first head to West Virginia. You will also find large populations of palomino trout throughout the Great Lakes region and the Pacific Northwest.

Generally speaking, you should be able to find golden trout in areas where you find other species of trout. This is particularly the case with areas known for brown trout, lake trout, and brook trout. 

One thing that makes the palomino trout so special is its ability to live its whole life in the wild and reproduce. This is something other hybrid species such as the tiger trout can’t do.

Are Palomino Trout Hard To Catch?

This is the question almost every angler wants the answer to, so let’s answer it. The palomino trout is an incredibly sneaky species of fish that definitely isn’t easy to catch.

Their looks can be quite deceiving in a range of scenarios, making it tricky to track down and catch. This is pretty ironic when you consider how colorful and vibrant the palomino trout is. 

Seen as though they aren’t as popular as other species of trout either, if you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll have your work cut out for you.

No need to worry though, we’ll show you everything you need to know now.

How To Catch Palomino Trout?

Despite being tougher to catch than other species of trout, the methods used to catch the palomino trout don’t differ too much.

In fact, most of the time, you’ll use the same techniques you normally use to catch rainbow and brook trout. 

Known for feeding voraciously like other types of trout, the golden trout will strike at a variety of different baits, flies, and lures. As a result, there are many different ways to catch one. 

What Is The Palomino Trout And How To Catch One (1)

While they are harder to catch than rainbow trout, they are easily spotted thanks to their color. Therefore, most people choose to catch the palomino trout on the fly or on a lure. This is because they can cast them more effectively.

Catching Golden Trout On The Fly?

While the techniques used to catch a palomino trout are similar to those used to catch rainbow trout, some anglers have noticed that the palomino trout is overly targeted by other anglers. 

This is especially true in states like West Virginia.

As a result, some anglers are now choosing to use nymphs and flies that are completely different from what they would normally cast. This is because the golden trout isn’t as familiar with those types of flies.

For palomino trout fishing, you should use dry flies. We also recommend fishing with streamers that are different from what other anglers commonly use. This might attract more palomino trout.

For the best chance of success, you should also head to the best spots on the lake early in the day. 

Catching Golden Trout On Lure?

Most anglers who fish for lake trout use various lures for success.

If you plan on fishing for golden trout in and around the Great Lakes, this could be your best option. The best types of lures to use include worms and insects.

Personally, we find that fishing on lures also has its benefits for fishing in streams. Again, try using worms and insects other anglers don’t typically use.

The new colors and styles might draw curious golden trout in, potentially bringing you more success.

Fishing Tips You Need To Remember

If you want the best chance of success when fishing for palomino trout, you need to make sure you get everything right.

Even then, success isn’t guaranteed, but at least you’ll know you did everything you could.

To help you get ready and improve your chances of success, we’ve listed some of the most important things to think about below!

Time of Day

It may surprise you but the time of day can play a huge part in how successful you are when trying to catch palomino trout.

Fishing at the right time of day can boost your chances and lead to greater success.

For catching palomino trout, an evening setup is arguably the best. Palomino trout are very sensitive to motion.

As a result, even the slightest movement of a shadow can scare them away. Fishing in the evening avoids this possibility.

Always Have A Net

The palomino trout is a powerful and energetic fish.

When tightly hooked, you can expect them to jump and move around furiously in an attempt to unhook themselves.

With this in mind, reeling a palomino trout in and lifting it out of the water isn’t a good idea. You should instead carry a net with you so that you can effectively and safely remove the fish from the water.

You should also reel the fish in slowly so that you don’t have to go directly against its force. As soon as the trout comes near you, dip your net into the water with the hole showing on the surface.

Try your best to then let the trout swim into the net for you. 

Use The Right Lures

Palomino trout are already tough enough to catch so make sure you don’t get your choice of lure wrong. Choosing the wrong lure will reduce the number of bites you get and lead to uninterested fish.

Using the right lure will have the opposite effect. For palomino trout, we recommend using mealworms, nightcrawlers, crickets, and salmon eggs.

Stay Still

Once you’ve cast your line into the water, we recommend staying as still as you can until you get a bite.

The smallest of movements could be all it takes to scare away any potential palomino trout.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, all you need to know about what the palomino trout is and how you can catch one. 

Despite being incredibly colorful, the palomino trout is no easy catch.

A species in its own right and otherwise known as the golden trout, we’ve shown you plenty about this fish in this article. 

We’ve looked at its history, where it can be found, how difficult it is to catch, and the methods used to catch it.

A trophy fish for many, all that’s left to do now is get your fishing gear out, hit the water, and do everything you can to catch one of these elusive fish. 

Tommy Bull

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